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US 30-yr mortgages under 6 pct for record 7th week

February 6, 2003
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WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - U.S. 30-year mortgage rates stayed under 6 percent for a record seventh straight week, No. 2 U.S. mortgage finance company Freddie Mac said on Thursday in its latest survey.

U.S. 30-year mortgage rates stood at an average 5.88 percent in the week ended Feb. 7, an unprecedented seventh straight week under 6 percent on Freddie Mac records going back to 1971. Thirty-year mortgages averaged 5.90 percent in the previous week.

Fifteen-year mortgages stood at an average 5.27 percent in the week compared with 5.28 percent the previous week, it said.

One-year adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) were unchanged for the week, remaining at a record low average of 3.89 percent.

"Mortgage rates are in a holding pattern right now as the country tries to smooth out the knots in the economy," Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement.

"Not only did we see record home sales and the national home ownership rate peak to an all-time high of 68.3 percent last year, but 2003 is shaping up to be equally as strong," he said.

On Monday, the National Association of Realtors said its U.S. Housing Affordability Index for the fourth quarter of 2002 rose to 140.7 from 135.9 in the third quarter.

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